Fermented Wheat Germ Extract

Also known by these names

  • Brand names include Avemar, Avé, AvéULTRA, AWGE, Metatrol and OncoMAR
  • FWGE
  • MSC
  • Wheat germ extract

Key Points

  • Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is a dietary supplement.
  • BCCT interest in FWGE derives from its anticancer and anti-metastatic effects across several types of cancer.
  • FWGE has enhanced the effectiveness of tamoxifen treatments in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells.
  • FWGE has reduced some chemotherapy-related side effects.
  • Side effects and adverse events are uncommon and usually mild. Some patients should not use FWGE.

Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is a dietary supplement sold as brand names including Avemar, Avé, AvéULTRA, AWGE, Metatrol and OncoMAR

Treating the Cancer

Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action

Lab and Animal Evidence

  • A 2012 review concluded that FWGE has these properties in laboratory cell and animal testing:1
    • Promotes apoptosis of cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed
    • Starves the sugar supply required by cancer cells to survive
    • Unmasks cancer cells so they can be more readily targeted by the immune system
    • Prevents abnormal cells from repairing themselves
  • A 2004 study found that FWGE interacted with tamoxifen treatment, enhancing the efficacy of tamoxifen, an ER antagonist, in inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in ER+ breast cancer cells.2

FWGE has shown anticancer and anti-metastatic effects in animal trials and a few clinical trials with these cancers:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Ovarian cancer

Managing Side Effects and Promoting Wellness

Managing or relieving side effects or symptoms, reducing treatment toxicity, supporting quality of life or promoting general well-being

Clinical Evidence

In all, evidence to date is positive but not rigorous for improvements in side effects and quality of life:

  • FWGE has reduced chemotherapy-induced fever that accompanies an abnormally low number of neutrophil granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood in pediatric cancer patients.
  • In studies of people with non-small cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy, FWGE improved quality of life.3

Cautions

FWGE is not recommended for use by pregnant and nursing women, patients with sensitivity to gluten, those with fructose intolerance, or patients with organ or tissue transplants.

Because FWGE may have estrogen-receptor activity, if you have an estrogen-dependent cancer and are thinking about taking FWGE, consult with a licensed provider who is knowledgeable and experienced with using this supplement in cancer.

Access

Fermented wheat germ extract supplements are widely available.

Dosing

BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated. Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.

Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:

Integrative Plans, Protocols and Medical Systems

For more information about plans and protocols, see our Integrative Plans and Protocols page.

Non-cancer Uses of FWGE

FWGE has been used in treatment for heart disease as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease. BCCT has not reviewed the effectiveness of this therapy for non-cancer uses.

Written by Nancy Hepp, MS, with review by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS; most recent update on January 14, 2019. Note: BCCT has not conducted an independent review of research of fermented wheat germ extract. This summary draws from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs and CAM-Cancer Summaries websites and other sources as noted.

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